On November 25th, 1,200 social representatives including youth and religious leaders were gathered in “1st Peace Conference of Religious Leaders in Southeastern and Southwestern Regions for the Reunification of Korea” to discuss spreading a culture of peace and preparing action plans for peaceful unification of the two Koreas in Daegu Metropolitan City, South Korea.
Mr. Man Hee Lee, Chairman of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) under the UN ECOSOC that organized this conference delivered his speech on the need for peaceful unification of Korea through the leadership of civil society with the German case.
“The Korean peninsula was forced to be divided and regulations that separated this peninsula were established. Then is unification possible with politics and law? The unification of Germany was possible when people gathered to hold a peaceful candlelight rally.”
He emphasized individual participation in the work of peace. “To achieve peace, every individual in our global community should be a messenger of peace,” he said.
At the conference, Gi Woong Son, President of Korea Institute for National Unification, advised that policy-making towards North Korea be oriented to induce peaceful unification by opening eyes and ears of the people in the country with the value of freedom, democracy, human rights, and welfare.
Emphasizing the role of civil society in peacebuilding, he said, “Consistent efforts for reaching North Koreans through humanitarian approaches including religion, culture, art, sports, and environment should be carried out. These areas can avoid transferability of capital misused for military capabilities of the North.”
Ven. But Ryun, chief priest at Kumdang Temple, pointed out that religious leaders are responsible for leading the work of peace and one way to engage in such a task is HWPL’s World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Offices for collective peacebuilding efforts by religions. “Now is the time religious leaders stand at the front for peace, a long-cherished wish of all humanity. The wall blocking religions will collapse as a result of our efforts of understanding based on the comparative study of religious scriptures,” he added.
At the end of the event, the participants signed signatures into a peace agreement containing a resolution to support HWPL’s initiative for the cessation of war and world peace and participate in projects for peace and religious harmony in the Korean peninsula.
HWPL is an international peace organization conducting global peace projects based on the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) which addresses international cooperation for peacebuilding through peaceful resolution of conflicts, respect on international law, ethnic and religious freedom, and spreading a culture of peace.
During the nuclear test by North Korea in September, HWPL hosted the 3rd Annual Commemoration of the WARP Summit to advocate collaborative governance for peacebuilding with the participation of 200,000 social representatives from politics, religion, media, education, and women.
This conference was hosted by the Buddhist Central Association for National Unification of Korea and sponsored by Ministry of Unification, the National Unification Advisory Council and local community organizations.